Does hair dye expire if it’s unopened? Yes, it expires, and you shouldn’t use it…

woman does not know if the dye expires even if it is unopened

  • Yes, hair dyes expire even if they are sealed.
  • Hair dyes have an expiration date that you must respect, whether they are open or unopened.
  • If you store a hair dye for a while, check the expiration date before using it. If it has already expired, DO NOT use it.


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Today I got a WhatsApp message from a client asking me  if the hair dye expires if it’s sealed. 


Believe it or not, this is a commonplace query because many women believe that hair dyes that are unopened and stored correctly keep their properties intact.

And let’s face it.  All cosmetic products have a minimum shelf life or expiration date. 


After all, they’re products that may contain chemical ingredients. And you apply them somewhere on your body. In the case of hair dyes, you apply them to the hair, a fact that is worth stating.

Don’t forget that an essential part of the dye is the developer, which is a chemical. If the developer is out of date, it can decay. And then, when you apply it to your hair, it can cause some unpleasant things like hair breakage or weakening of the hair cuticles.

expiration date of a hair dye

Therefore,  it’s essential to be clear that hair dyes expire even if they are sealed.  They have a set shelf life, which you’ll see on the packaging as an expiration date.

 If that date has passed, even if the dye is sealed, you should discard the dye. 


To make you understand this better, imagine that one day you find a sealed facial moisturizer in your bathroom medicine cabinet. Someone gave it to you years ago, and you notice it’s past its expiry date. Would you use it on your face?

I’m sure you wouldn’t use it. Because even if you didn’t have a degree in biochemistry, surely that female intuition that always works, or almost always, would tell you that you might cause some irritation to your skin.

So, if you wouldn’t apply that sealed but expired face cream, why would you use a stored and sealed dye that might be expired?

To avoid all doubts, let’s look at all those little questions. Ones that may be gnawing at you right now, regarding the expiration of a hair dye even if it’s sealed.


Why does hair dye expire even if it’s still unopened?

expired unopened hair dye leaves uneven color in hair

It’s because hair dye contains chemicals and other components that have a certain shelf life. You should discard the dye if you don’t use it during that period, and that’s true even if it’s unopened, its container in perfect condition and well-stored.

This applies to both box dyes and professional dyes.


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What could happen if you use a dye that’s sealed but expired?

 At best, the dye won’t change the color of your hair.   Worst case scenario: 
  • The expired chemicals irritate your scalp, causing redness and itching.
  • Your hair takes on uneven, blotchy color.
  • The developer and dye don’t mix properly, and your hair gets some lighter circles due to the developer.


What’s the best way to discard an expired dye?

unopened Revlon hair dye box

 What if you opened the dye you had in storage and mixed the ingredients  to see if it was usable, and then you realize it’s expired? Place the container with the mixture under running tap water, and let it wash away completely.

As the chemicals decay, the tap water returns to the water treatment plant, and the filtering process recycles it.

 If you haven’t opened the dye , wrap it in a nylon bag and discard it in the trash. You cannot recycle it because the dye contains aluminum and chemicals. You can also contact your local authorities to ask if you can discard it along with batteries.

Many countries discard batteries and chemical waste together so they don’t pollute the water.


Finally,  if you find an unopened semi-permanent hair dye and doubt its expiration date, I recommend you discard it. 


Because even though it doesn’t contain ammonia or developer, it most likely won’t set properly in your hair. Therefore, color results are unpredictable.



When you find an expired and unopened hair dye at home, throw it away. The chemicals can irritate your scalp and cause your hair to break.

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